Democratic senator, 16 others arrested at Capitol protest

Some 200 protestors assembled in the Georgia State Capitol on Nov. 13. Seventeen were arrested. Photo by Will Solomons | The Signal

Though it may be chilly outside, things were heated inside the Georgia State Capitol today, Nov. 13. During a protest partly organized by Black Lives Matter, one state senator and 16 others were arrested.

Sen. Nikema Williams was detained inside of the Capitol in zip ties by two state troopers. Williams had just won reelection as a Democrat from District 39 on Nov. 6.

The protest called for the government to “count every vote,” as nearly 200 people chanted outside of a special session to address hurricane cleanup concerns and jet fuel tax exemptions.

The protest was assembled in response to gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ call for remaining provisional and absentee ballots to be counted following an extremely close midterm election race last Tuesday.

Protesters’ chants echoed off the walls of the Capitol’s main rotundum. Georgia State Patrol and Capitol Police watched the protest for several minutes before descending on the demonstrators with zip ties.

As all 17 people were arrested, others continued to chant “no justice, no peace.”

Police delivered an ultimatum to the remaining protesters: leave the interior of the Capitol or be arrested. Those arrested were escorted outside to two white police transport vans.

Several protesters lingered and resisted, resulting in them, too, being arrested. The other demonstrators were funneled out by more than a dozen state troopers.

According to a state trooper, protesters were arrested for breaking Georgia law 16-11-34.1, titled, “Preventing or disrupting General Assembly sessions or other meetings of members; unlawful activities within the state capitol or certain Capitol Square buildings,” and is classified as an offense “against public order.”

This is just one of several protests that have occurred in the past week, and many more are scheduled in the coming weeks. Stay updated with The Signal for your coverage.